Ed Dickson Disappears
After dropping the would-be first down on the first play of the game, Ed Dickson seemed to have used up whatever trust he had left with Joe Flacco. Flacco would not target Dickson again the rest of the game, despite Dickson appearing open at times. Dickson did have some nice blocks in the run game, however. Clark seems to have built more trust with Flacco in four weeks that Dickson has in four years.
Tandon Doss Proves Worth
A rash of injuries and rosters cuts made the Ravens disturbingly thin at returner, causing them to resign former fourth round pick Tandon Doss in the middle of the week. Doss played admirably as a returner, fielding three punts for an impressive 14.3 yard average. The Ravens will have some tough decisions to make when Deonte Thompson and Jacoby Jones return from their injuries.
Pass Rush Unleashed
After a performance to forget against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, the pass rush bounced back in stunning fashion with 5 sacks and 12 quarterback hits. Daryl Smith (1.5 sacks, 2 QB hits), Terrell Suggs (1 sack, 3 QB hits), and Elvis Dumervil (1 sack, 3 QB hits) led the charge against a very good Cleveland Browns offensive line that includes All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas.
Elam Plays Over Huff
After being embarrassed on national television last week, the Ravens secondary had to make some changes. Chief among those was rookie Matt Elam getting the nod at free safety over veteran Michael Huff. Elam would play well in his first start after a costly blunder during the Browns’ first drive that put them in scoring territory with a 53 yard reception by Jordan Cameron. Huff still saw significant playing time, although its tough to see him starting next week after Elam’s performance.
Arthur Jones is Healthy
After a scary health condition that made Arthur Jones fear for his football career, Jones bounced back against the Browns, notching 1 sack and remaining stout against the run. Assuming he stays healthy, he is a prime candidate to break out this year.
Run Game Struggles Again
For the second consecutive game, the Ravens failed to get their run game going. Between rushes by Bernard Pierce, Ray Rice, and Flacco, the Ravens managed only 99 yards on the ground with palsy 3.0 and 2.8 yards par carry averages by Pierce and Rice, respectively. Additionally, Rice injured his hip in the second half, but is not considered serious.
Marlon Brown the Red Zone Threat
Marlon Brown has played in two NFL games, and has scored a touchdown in each. Despite being a rookie, the big-bodied Brown is already asserting himself as a red zone threat, a role that was previously held by players such as Anquan Boldin (sigh) and Dennis Pitta (double sigh).
Denver Broncos are Real
Nobody believed that the Denver Broncos were pretenders this year, but nobody believed they were going to be so good so early. Their defense has held up despite the losses of Elvis Dumervil (cut during free agency) and Von Miller (suspended for violating league substance abuse rules). After dominating the Ravens, Peyton Manning ran through New York and his little brother’s team, 41-23
Joe Flacco Welcomes Son Into World
Daniel Flacco, Joe’s second son, was born just 1 hour before the Browns game. Flacco’s wife Dana elected to give birth with her family in New Jersey with Joe preoccupied in Baltimore. As soon as he could, Joe headed north after the game to be with his wife and family.
John Harbaugh Remains Undefeated Versus Cleveland
The Harbaugh Era has not been a pretty on for the Cleveland Browns, as he and his franchise quarterback has won 11 consecutive games against the AFC North rivals.